Vica Bayley MR

THE Wilderness Society today welcomed a motion, unanimously passed by councilors at last nights Hobart City Council meeting, that challenges the State Government to do more to combat climate change by reforming antiquated logging practices and rejecting Gunns’ pulp mill.

The council’s move is believed to be the first case where an elected government in Australia officially acknowledges the massive role the logging industry plays in causing climate change. It also appears to take into account the decades of high levels of emissions that would be generated by logging needed to feed the pulp mill.

“The Hobart City Council must be congratulated for cutting through the spin and seeing the logging industry for what it is. According to the Tasmanian Government’s Draft Strategy on Climate Change, the logging industry is Tasmania’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses by far,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

“Councilors must also be congratulated for standing up to the Lennon Labor government and holding them to account for the hypocritical stance of claiming the climate change high moral ground on one hand, yet supporting the logging of native forests and the pulp mill on the other.”

Sir Nicholas Stern highlighted the importance of retaining native forests in the battle to combat climate change. He stated, ‘Curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Action to preserve the remaining areas of natural forest is urgent’.

“It is welcome that a tier of government closest to the people, a local government, has picked up on the importance of forests in the battle to combat climate change and is prepared to hold the State Government to account,” continued Mr Bayley.

“We call on Premier Lennon, Prime Minister Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong to heed the mounting scientific evidence and international advice and tackle climate change by protecting native forests.”

“With the pulp mill expected to add at least 2% to Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to adding 2.3 million cars on the road each year, stepping in and stopping the pulp mill is paramount to any credible government policy to combat climate change.”